sambal tuktuk

Sambal Tuktuk: A Sumatran Delight Full of Flavor and Tradition

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Sambal tuktuk is a very spicy dish that uses ikan teri (dried anchovies) and andaliman pepper as it’s main ingredients. Let’s try it out!

To make sambal tuktuk, simply fry ikan teri, fry some ground chillies, garlic, onion and andaliman pepper before adding the fried ikan teri, that’s it!

What is sambal tuktuk?

Sambal tuktuk, a gem from the shores of Lake Toba, is a celebration of all things flavorful and vibrant in Sumatran cuisine. It masterfully blends the spiciness of chilies with the unique zest of andaliman peppers—a rare treasure outside North Sumatra—creating a symphony of flavors that dance between spicy, tangy, and sweet.

Enhanced by the savory crunch of ikan teri (dried anchovies), sambal tuktuk serves as a versatile dish that can elevate any meal, making it a beloved staple in the Indonesian culinary tradition.

This recipe is highly related to sambals I’ve made before; sambal ikan teri and sambal lado mudo. Both of them being less spicy than this one. Try it out if you want less heat!

Step 1: Collect the Ingredients

sambal tuktuk

Sambal tuktuk

Sambal tuktuk! This amazing dish can be combined with rice, curries, grilled meats to pack a great punch of spicy flavors. Try it out now!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 2
Calories 130 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 2 large chili peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 30-50 g ikan teri (dried anchovies)
  • 1 tbsp andaliman pepper
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingrdients
  • Fry the ikan teri
  • Chop and grind the ingredients
  • Fry sambal tuktuk
  • Serve and conserve sambal tuktuk
Keyword Sambal tuktuk

Note: the given kcal count is based on an online calculator and might deviate from your caloric content.

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

Seek out fresh, plump chilies for that essential kick, and make sure your andaliman peppers are fragrant and potent to ensure the authentic Sumatran flavor shines through. The palm sugar should have a deep, caramel hue, promising to infuse your sambal with its characteristic sweetness.

When selecting ikan teri, make sure they are dried but not too brittle, I used ikan teri from the freezer to be able to keep them for longer.

As a substitute, you can use sichuan peppers instead of andaliman if you’d like, brown sugar intead of palm sugar and even some different fish if you want!

sambal tuktuk ingredients

Step 3: Fry the ikan teri

Start by frying the ikan teri, heat up a pan with some (sunflower) oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the ikan teri to fry until browned, this should take only a few minutes.

frying ikan teri
frying ikan teri

Step 2: Chop and Grind the Ingredients

Continue by roughly chopping the chilies, red onion, and garlic. Use a mortar and pestle or food processor to crush them together with the andaliman peppers and palm sugar into a paste.

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients

If you need more information on what food processor to use, check out my post from before where I review the best food processors for under 100 USD.

Step 3: Fry Sambal Tuktuk

Reusing the pan from step 2, set it back to medium-high heat and add the ground ingredients once hot. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant before adding back the ikan teri, that’s it!

fried ground ingredients
adding ikan teri

Step 4: Serve and Conserve Sambal Tuktuk

Serve this sambal with various dishes, keep in mind it’s spiciness that comes from the chillies and the andaliman peppers. It will definitely influence your dish so choose carefully, I can recommend the following:

served sambal tuktuk

Alternatively conserve this sambal in the fridge for up to a couple of days. Always checking your food for spoilage before eating!

I hope you’ve liked this recipe. If you did, let me know what you think! If you have any ideas on what to cook next, let me know as well!

Some other sambals I highly recommend:

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